At 6:30 PM on Friday, Bobby Jindal issued a spending freeze for all agencies in the Executive Branch of state government.
As of Saturday morning, the best coverage of the freeze was found on LSU Professor Bob Mann’s blog here.
Jindal’s strategy appears to be working. After a Google search, other than brief mention in The Advocate most media coverage of the freeze was limited to Twitter and other blogs. [Jindal’s Executive Order reported eleswhere]
It’s likely that many state agencies will not learn about the freeze until Monday.
Calling it a “spending freeze” is just another way of saying “mid-year budget cuts” that we were assured by Commish of Administration Kristy Nichols would not happen.
Call it what you want from a budgeting standpoint it is the same. The spending freeze means reduced services to the public, longer waits and likely layoffs before the current fiscal year ends on June 30.
The freeze will also affect the FY15 Budget currently being discussed by the House Appropriations Committee. It puts in jeopardy the promised state employee pay raises as well as addition funding for education for both k-12 and Higher Ed.
A random check of leges, including those on the House Appropriations Committee found none who knew the freeze was coming.
Had Chairman of the Appropriations Committee Jim Fannin not refused to hold pre-session budget hearings we would have known about the revenue problems in January. Now, we know what Fannin was hiding from the other leges and the public.
It’s time for the leges to start asking some hard questions of Team Jindal; who will step up?
Follow me on Twitter: @CBForgot